I don't know why I find arts and crafts so fascinating, or why I am drawn to many different crafts. If I had the time, I'd probably want to learn how to cobble my own shoes. I told D that he should do some sort of study on why people find things interesting. Part of it is the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands and taking pride in that. Sometimes it's because you don't want to spend $500 on a designer sweater that looks so easy reproduce. It could also be that it's difficult for you to find well-fitting, well-made clothing, so you sew it yourself. Or you want to have something unique that no one else has. As romantic as it sounds though, realistically, there just isn't enough time to make everything from scratch, it's just too stressful! (not even Martha could do it - but I do love her ideas).
Which is why I really like the concept behind Etsy, a sort of online one-of-a-kind craft show, where you can relieve your anxiety by purchasing all those lovely things you don't have the skill, time, or patience to make yourself. Plus, you are supporting independent artistry and the promotion of handmade goods. Everyone wins. Admittedly, I haven't shopped on the site yet, but have spent endless hours perusing the goods. I encourage you to visit this site as soon as possible. You can shop the old fashioned way by category (jewelry or papergoods), but it is even cooler that you can shop by colour (every shade imaginable) to find a match for that outfit you can never accessorize for.
Oh my. How did I get started on this again? Oh right, over Christmas I got some new crafty toys that I want to share. First, check out these awesome, super cute travel-themed cookie cutters given to me (and D) by Miss A (the mitten modeler). D's benefit in this gift will be eating the cookies.
I also got this crazy gum paste flower making kit from D's parents to supplement my cake decorating hobby. I've never worked with gum paste, but it is supposed to be easier to mold and cut than fondant. The flowers look so real and are very detailed - I will surely have hours of fun with this. And a flower garden in my living room.
Aside from the new crafts, I was really responsible over the holidays and did not buy any new yarn, fabric, or other supplies besides some bias tape from Fabricland (they had some wonderful winter coat wools that I had to drag myself away from).
And it was a relatively productive holiday for ongoing knitting projects. Ene is coming along - I worked chart 1 and 2, am on the second repeat of 2, and have managed not to lose any stitches. It's been a slow knit for me since I have to look very carefully for all the yarn-overs, which is kind of dizzying after a while. I haven't suffered any neck cramps though, fortunately.
I also made this bobbly beret in Deep River. It's the Trinity Stitch hat that's popular on Craftster and Ravelry right now. I followed Sticks and Tones modifications since I had the same needle sizes, and cast on 112 stitches. I started decreasing at 7" and did 4 decreases every 2 rows, and it still came out rounder on top, unlike the original pattern. My hat is a little slouchier. And it doesn't sit flat and circular like a beret, which is OK. At first it was annoying me that it wasn't more beret-like, but now that I've worn it a few times I am really liking it. This thing is so warm that your head starts sweating if the weather isn't below zero.
D acted as my photographer on our outing to the North Market today:
Pattern: Trinity Stitch Hat with mods (see link above)
Yarn: 2 skeins Patons Classic Merino, grey, held doubled
Needles: US8 for ribbing & US10 dpns
And would you believe that after the long cold spell, the pansies outside our building are STILL alive?? I took this photo this morning. This weather is crazy, I tell you...